Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Small town planning consultant or ideas?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Downstate Illinois
    Posts
    3

    Small town planning consultant or ideas?

    Hi. I am not a city planner and I know nothing about it really. I live in a very small town in west central Illinois on the Mississippi river with a population of about 1,000. Part of it is rural, part of it is a town. It used to be a pretty decent town, but it's gone down hill pretty quickly (in my opinion.) We don't have a city planner or anything, just a mayor. We have very little money. I was wondering if there are any resources you can think of that might help a mayor, city council, and a few enthusiastic citizens. I saw a few books on Amazon. I also wondered if it was ever possible to hire someone to come to your town, evaluate it and help you formulate some plans. Like I said, we can't afford a city planner or anything, but we might be able to afford a consultant. I'm just not sure where to start. I'd appreciate any help at all. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    There are many consultants, myself included, who would provide an evaluation and recommendations. In my experience, you will be better served by a smaller firm where you are still likely to have a senior person assigned to you, even with a small budget. A large firm may tend to give you boilerplate information and walk away.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,574
    I am very close to you. Depending on what you need, I may be able to help. If I can't, I can help you find someone who can. I am going to Private Message you my info.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Downstate Illinois
    Posts
    3
    Thanks. I'll try to call next week sometime. Just to clarify, I am in no way a representative of the city. I'm just kind of a curious person and I thought maybe if I could find some resources I could pass them on to the right people.

  5. #5
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,574
    Quote Originally posted by Kristinski View post
    Thanks. I'll try to call next week sometime. Just to clarify, I am in no way a representative of the city. I'm just kind of a curious person and I thought maybe if I could find some resources I could pass them on to the right people.
    I gathered that from your post. Doesn't hurt to explore options.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Downstate Illinois
    Posts
    3
    Is a certain time to call better than another?

  7. #7
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,574
    Not really, any time works fine.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    anchorage, ak
    Posts
    2
    I've worked with a Universtity (in Washington state) who took on small town planning projects and did a great job at a reasonable cost. They actually traveled from Washington to Alaska to do the work but most was done at the school. You might want to contact them or some other closer college on the off chance they have such a program.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,297

    Agreed.....

    Quote Originally posted by nmccullough View post
    I've worked with a Universtity (in Washington state) who took on small town planning projects and did a great job at a reasonable cost. They actually traveled from Washington to Alaska to do the work but most was done at the school. You might want to contact them or some other closer college on the off chance they have such a program.
    If the Giff can't help, contact one of your local university programs for a helping hand. Maybe they can dedicate a studio class to your needs.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  10. #10
         
    Registered
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southwestern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    13
    Imagine that, your hamlet could be a blank canvas for a new breed of urban planners set out to reinvent the wheel. Something like that would have been invaluable in my Planning curriculum. Good luck!

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wilson, Tx
    Posts
    1

    Two cents

    For what it's worth, I'll say this about funding your idea. If there are any local businesses in the area, don't be afraid to hit them up, or encourage the right people to hit them up. This includes your utility providers.

    As a for instance, I am from a town of about 536 people. Recently, a few of us decided that the old downtown, consisting of city hall and 6 closed down businesses, needed some sprucing up. The city council was not willing to put forward the funds to work on this project. We approached our cotton gin, bank, utility providers, and a few businesses from neighboring towns that could benefit from some free publicity and managed to raise $3,000 for the project. That included some individual donations after it was seen what the businesses were willing to do. Not a small sum for an itty bitty town.

    We completed our project and now have a list of potential donors for projects down the road. Never underestimate the giving potential of your local businesses.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Eastern Canada
    Posts
    83
    Imagine that, your hamlet could be a blank canvas for a new breed of urban planners set out to reinvent the wheel. Something like that would have been invaluable in my Planning curriculum. Good luck!
    Be careful with this one, it could easily be a waste of time. My experience in my Masters planning studio was that we students tend to push for the big grand ideas that focus on urban design rather than policy (guess which one is more fun). However, a small town with few resources has to be pretty realistic and efficient in the changes it implements; just don't be too surprised if the student suggestions are beyond what your town could ever afford to do.

    On the flip side, there are a good many very capable students. I think if you're VERY clear in your expectations and the limitations of your town resources you could potentially get yourself some very enthusiastic, very cheap planning help.

  13. #13
    BANNED
    Registered
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Australiaspat
    Posts
    12

    Small town planning ideas

    The secret is carefully determining how your business can fit into your town.
    Strategy #1: Be uniquely local
    • Local pride clothing
    • Local jewelry
    • Local photos
    • Local photo postcards personalized with your photo
    • Local hospitality in a family summer camp
    • Add value through local and organic foods
    • Cater to local outdoor sports
    Strategy #2: Use what you know
    • Create reference guides
    • Be a tour guide in online worlds
    • Fix things and resell
    • Buy local items to resell in larger markets
    • Buy global items to resell in local markets
    • Share your skills as a taxi
    • Paint business windows
    • Share your space and your create
    Strategy #3: Look at existing businesses
    • Build a Lending Tree style market for everything
    • Create a Netflix style exchange for business books
    • Use memberships to support any business
    • Leverage government contracts to build a business
    • Target the rural market

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, TN
    Posts
    17
    An online resource that might be helpful is the Strontowns blog. The address issues with small town planning. They also have a small booklet that can be distributed to the local decision makers, called Curbside Chat.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    1

    Small Town IL Consultants

    There are planners throughout western IL, living somewhat like hermits, but they do exist. I used to live in Galesburg, however... in order to make a living, I moved to MI. The planning program at the Univ of IL that will do this sort of thing. They did a plan for Galesburg's Main Street a couple of years ago. WIU may have a class, but they don't have a full blown urban planning program as far as I know, but if you contact their geography department, they might be able to point you to a professor. Iowa and Iowa State do this sort of thing, but I don't know if they'd cross the river. There is also a group of planners in IL who will work on projects pro bono for small communities. I see the original post was a couple of years ago, but if it's still something you're interested in, or the community is interested in, contact the UIUC, WIU, or the American Planning Association in Chicago and ask about their pro bono planner group.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Going from consulting to small town planning
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 8
    Last post: 30 Mar 2011, 3:10 PM
  2. The small town planning thread
    Rural and Small Town Planning
    Replies: 55
    Last post: 08 Jul 2009, 2:58 PM
  3. Is small town planning bad for career?
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 16
    Last post: 29 Sep 2004, 12:36 PM
  4. Small town planning
    Rural and Small Town Planning
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 22 Jul 2004, 11:46 PM
  5. Small town planning
    Rural and Small Town Planning
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 08 Nov 1997, 3:33 PM